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Science Forum

  1. 09 Apr '14 18:54 / 4 edits
    http://phys.org/news/2014-04-scientists-ethanol-corn.html

    So, with no plant matter required so no issue there of this displacing food crops, first collect CO2 from the atmosphere, then convert it to carbon monoxide using renewable energy only. Then use this new copper-based catalyst to turn it to ethanol for fuel.

    Not bad!

    I wonder if this will ever pan out in a significant way at least for a few years or if this will prove to be just another technological dead-end thank to the developing alternatives?

    At least this is one way forward if all else fails.
  2. 09 Apr '14 19:48
    Originally posted by humy
    http://phys.org/news/2014-04-scientists-ethanol-corn.html

    So, with no plant matter required so no issue there of this displacing food crops, first collect CO2 from the atmosphere, then convert it to carbon monoxide using renewable energy only. Then use this new copper-based catalyst to turn it to ethanol for fuel.

    Not bad!

    I wonder if this will ever p ...[text shortened]... end thank to the developing alternatives?

    At least this is one way forward if all else fails.
    I am generally against plans like this because of the potential for distracting us from the electric car. Once we make some breakthroughs with batteries, specifically lighter and lower costs, then the electric car will beat the fuel driven vehicle on every front.
    I believe however that electric cars are already a better deal than fuel, and the problem is the mass producers deliberately stalling the process.
    But we are getting there. Toyota already has hybrids making up over 10% of their sales.
  3. 09 Apr '14 20:06 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I am generally against plans like this because of the potential for distracting us from the electric car. Once we make some breakthroughs with batteries, specifically lighter and lower costs, then the electric car will beat the fuel driven vehicle on every front.
    I believe however that electric cars are already a better deal than fuel, and the problem is ...[text shortened]... rocess.
    But we are getting there. Toyota already has hybrids making up over 10% of their sales.
    Once we make some breakthroughs with batteries, specifically lighter and lower costs, then the electric car will beat the fuel driven vehicle on every front.

    I believe you are right. Battery technology is incrementally improving all the time and, because of the way second low of thermodynamics works 'against' (if that is the right word ) heat engines, the theoretical maximum energy efficiency of the combustion engine will never be as high as that for an electric engine with a battery. This is just partly why I think it will be just a matter of when, not if, electric cars will completely take over combustion engine cars -the 'when' being the operative word here.

    Although there is the possibility that fuel cell powered cars using biofuel (such as ethanol ) could also pan out for a while, they would have their own problems and limitations (temperature sensitivity being just one of them ) and I doubt they could be made to be as cost effective as the best possible electric cars.
  4. 10 Apr '14 05:33
    Another very big advantage of electric cars is that they are very low maintenance. This is actually one of the biggest reasons there is resistance from the industry. The advent of electric cars will put whole segments of industry out of business. We will need fewer parts manufacturers and fewer mechanics - and probably fewer filling stations.
  5. 10 Apr '14 07:57 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Another very big advantage of electric cars is that they are very low maintenance. This is actually one of the biggest reasons there is resistance from the industry. The advent of electric cars will put whole segments of industry out of business. We will need fewer parts manufacturers and fewer mechanics - and probably fewer filling stations.
    I believe you are right again.
    I particularly like your "..and fewer mechanics.." quote; that means fewer car mechanics to rip us off.